If you have a remote distributor setup it must also be set as a publisher. Not having this set will produce error 20036.
To get around the problem, you will have to mark the distribution server as a publisher as well. But you don't have to publish any articles from the distribution server's databases.
To mark the distributor as a publisher, follow these steps in SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS):
- Connect to the replication distribution server
- Right click on the "Replication" node in the server tree
- Select "Distributor Properties..." from the popup menu
- Click on the "Publishers" page in the left hand side pane
- Tick the check box against the name of the distribution server
- Click "OK", and provide any other requested information
The same can be performed from the query window of SSMS, using a system stored procedure called, sp_adddistpublisher. For more information about the parameters required by this procedure, see SQL Server 2005 Books Online.